DALLAS - The annual St. Patrick’s Parade along Greenville Avenue in Dallas and post-parade block party was canceled on Wednesday due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns.
The move was made by city officials in consultation with public health officials, "healthcare leaders," first responders and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The parade and block party was scheduled to take place on Saturday with more than 125,000 in attendance.
“Canceling the St. Patrick’s Day parade and block party was not an easy decision, but it is the correct and responsible decision,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson in a statement. “An event of this scale, without adequate public health protections, cannot be allowed to occur at this time. Our primary concern is the health, safety, and welfare of our residents, and we will continue to take action accordingly."
Parade officials said they will stand by the decision made, even though earlier in the week they were saying the annual bash would go on. On Monday the parade organizers posted a “Keep Calm and Parade On” graphic to their Facebook page.
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The decision will have severe consequences for numerous Greenville Avenue bars and restaurants. For many establishments along or near the route, it’s their biggest money-making day of the year.
Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata handles events and will consider whether to cancel other large events, he says, on a case-by-case basis.
“We've got about 120 permitted events that take us through August,” he said.
Zapata said part of the reason they are concerned about the spread of the virus at the parade is because it is an outdoor event without access to sinks with soap and water where people can wash their hands often and so many people in a confined area.
Dallas joins several other big cities in the United States in canceling their St. Patrick’s parade. Chicago announced the cancelation of its event on Wednesday and Boston canceled theirs earlier this week amid continued worries over the growing spread of the coronavirus.
Dallas officials said in a statement "additional mass gatherings will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis."
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